When I first heard about the movie, I admit I was worried. I wasn’t worried that the movie wouldn’t be good, though I was concerned about Chris Evans’s ability to play Steve Rogers. What I was really concerned about was the fact that Captain America was scheduled only a week after Harry Potter. What were they thinking? The last Harry Potter movie was the movie of the summer. A whole generation around the world waited to see Harry. What chance did our star-spangled veteran have against publicity like that?
I’m sorry, Cap! I lost faith. I never should have doubted you. After all, Captain American punched out Hitler 200 times… he could handle Harry Potter. Though Harry Potter still broke records, Captain America actually beat Harry Potter its opening week, which no one expected, but Cap’s always been good with impossible situations.
So how did Captain America beat the movie of the summer…? At least for that weekend anyway. By simply being a good movie.
Our movie stays as true to the comics as possible. Steve Rogers is a physically weak man who just wants to serve his country during World War II. And he is shown right away to be basically the greatest guy alive, which is exactly how he is in the comics. Captain America is one of few heroes that can match Superman in a nicest person ever contest, yet where DC has failed to make Superman seem relatable but still essentially perfect, Marvel succeeds with Captain America. Steve Rogers is the everyman who just wants to do the right thing, and he does. Taking down each and every Hydra base just like they did in World War…. Wait… what?
One of the few disappointing things about this movie is that Captain America never actually fights Nazis. In fact, they are mentioned so little that you almost wonder if the writers forgot that Captain America was fighting in World War II. That being said, Hydra was full of bad guys that Captain America fought in the comics, but Hydra was clearly linked with Hitler. That Red Skull emancipates himself so quickly from the Nazis was a bit annoying.
Actually, Red Skull was a bit boring. I was more than a little excited to hear that Hugo Weaving was playing Red Skull, but the character is portrayed poorly. Where Marvel managed to make Captain America the relatable everyman, Red Skull was simply a mustache twirling psychopath. No back story for him was given other than that he was evil and then took power that made him more evil, but also crazy powerful.
Red Skull is really just there to provide conflict and be the foil for Captain America, and his character suffers for it.
Bucky’s character, however, is better than the comics. Bucky in the comics is Captain America’s boy sidekick, because apparently they were letting eight year olds fight back in WWII. Bucky was really only included because boy-sidekicks were really popular at the time, but he was never a fan favorite the way Robin was and was eventually killed off. Maybe he and Jason Todd should get some coffee and chat for a bit.
Bucky is made better in the movies by being Captain America’s adult friend, and it was endlessly amusing to see him being cooler than Cap for at least the first couple of scenes. He does still die, though, because Marvel respects their source material and because Bucky’s death really shapes Captain America as a character.
Peggy Carter might be my favorite supporting character in this movie. Aside for some random reason being British (she’s American in the comics), Peggy’s character is spot on and arguably more badass than she was in the comics. She shoots a guy right in the head—from pretty far away too, I might add—to stop a Hydra agent. She even yells at Steve for protecting her in that scene, because well, she was doing pretty damn awesome on her own. In the first scene we see her in she punches out a guy for his sexist comments. Hooray! Basically, Peggy is awesome because unlike so many superhero girlfriends, she actually is a well-rounded character who has a motivation and plot outside of dating the superhero. You could take Captain America out of the movie and she would still have a compelling and interesting story to tell the audience, I doubt Lois Lane or Mary Jane could say the same.
One could argue that Peggy suffers from the love triangle that constantly crops up in comic book movies, but I’m of the opinion that there was nothing going on between her and Iron Man’s dear old dad. It mostly seemed to be something that was in Steve’s head and the two men’s friendship didn’t suffer because some evil vagina got in the way, which is a nice change of pace.
The plot in the movie is good, but kind of predictable since they tell you at the beginning of the movie that Cap’s going to be frozen in ice by the end. Despite it being pretty predictable, it’s still extremely entertaining and aware of its source material to the point where kids are reading the old Captain America comics in the movie. It plays with several typical comic book tropes, too. The best being when an agent of Hydra throws a young boy into the water so that Captain America will save him and allow him to escape. The innocent bystander being used as a distraction is in almost every comic book movie, but in this one, the little boy proudly proclaims to Captain America, “I can swim, go get him.”
If the continuity in X-Men: First Class was disgraceful, then the continuity in Captain America is phenomenal, tying everything together seamlessly with the Iron Man and Thor movies and subtly moving the plot along for the upcoming The Avengers movie. That being said, the ending of Captain America is poor because it leads directly to the Avengers movie. Basically, it doesn’t seem to stand on its own as a movie because it relies on information from the other Marvel movies and on the upcoming The Avengers movie.
All in all, in was a fun, fantastic, and interesting movie. I can’t wait to see Steve Roger’s and the gang back for The Avengers movie.